Antibacterial Soaps to be banned?

We’ve mentioned this before (See the blog post here), antibacterial soaps simply don’t work. There is absolutely no proof that they help prevent the spread of germs.

In spite of this, they seem to be everywhere, even in supermarkets and small stores for patrons to use to supposedly protect from germs. And therein lies the problem. Because the widespread use of antibacterial soaps the FDA is now looking at imposing stricter controls because the main active ingredient triclosan seems to be interfering with hormone levels and helping produce “super bugs” that resistant to drugs.

The FDA is now going to require manufacturers of antibacterial soaps to show proof that their products are more effective in fighting germs than soap and regular water alone. If they can not do so they will have to relabel, reformulate or remove the products from market.

Unfortunately this isn’t going to happen overnight. Manufacturers apparently have until the end of 2016, three years from now, to respond. That’s three years of these products potentially continuing to produce bacteria that isn’t going to respond to antibiotics and other drugs. It might be a little too little a little too late.


Toys Safety this Christmas

Toys are supposed to produce joy, not injury. Unfortunately, mainly because people don’t pay attention to some basic issues, toys can sometimes end up hurting or even killing small children instead of bringing them happiness. Here are a few safety tips for toys:

Pay attention to the recommended age on the toy that you are purchasing. Many toys are simply not safe for smaller children because they pose a chocking hazard. If there are small parts that can be detached and swallowed they are simply not acceptable for children under 3 years of age.

Make sure that stuffed toys have sturdy seams and that eyes, buttons and small parts are firmly attached. Check your children’s stuffed toys regularly to make sure that these items are still secure and aren’t loose. Mend them if they are so that small children don’t choke on them.

Read the directions on the toys to make sure that you know how they are intended to be used. Instructions may also give you information on particular hazards to be aware of or guard against.

Make sure you teach your children how to use the toy properly and what not to do with it.

Make sure that toys with batteries are properly sealed up so that children don’t get to the batteries and swallow them. This has become a bigger problem in the past few years as batteries have gotten smaller, especially with the button batteries.

If you purchase toys from a second-hand store, make sure there aren’t any recalls on them. Stores that sell new toys would have pulled them from the shelves and they would no longer be available but thrift stores would not take the time to make sure the items that they sell haven’t been recalled. Thanks to the marvel of the internet it’s a simple as a couple mouse clicks. Go to to make sure the toys you give are safe.

While this is by no means an exhaustive list, adhering to these basic safety tips should avoid most potential issues. Have a fun and safe gift giving season.

Garage Door Safety

I was going to start this post with a quiz asking what the largest moving object in your home is but seeing the title of this post I’m guessing few of you wouldn’t be able to figure it out.

Before 1993, however, when congress passed a law that required all garage door openers to have a sensor to keep the door from closing when it detected anything in the way, many children (not to mention pets) ended up getting injured and killed, crushed by garage doors.

As great as this legislation was, it is still necessary to make sure that it is functioning correctly in order to avoid the same kind of accident today. Here are a few safety tips concerning your garage door:

1. Keep all moving parts like the rollers, hinges and wheels oiled. Your garage door should open and close smoothly.

2. Check all screws and bolts periodically to make sure they are tightened. Screws can slowly work loose and cause the track to work away from the ceiling or wall. Screws that aren’t tightened can also obstruct the wheels and hinges causing damage to your garage door opener and/or to the garage door itself.

3. Make sure that your garage door is adjusted well so that the balance is correct. Houses can settle over time, shifting slightly; humidity and temperature can also affect the door and the frame. To check the balance, release the mechanism and lift the garage door manually. It should lift fairly easily and the opening should be even across the bottom. The door should not start to close when you left go of it.

4. Check your sensor by holding your hand in front of it and trying to close the door with the remote. The door should not move.

5. Put an object that’s about 1 1/2″ tall on the ground at the point where the door impacts the floor. Again, try to close the door. It should reverse as soon as it makes contact with the object.

If any problem is detected, fix it or call your local garage door company for maintenance and repair.

Free PowerPoint Training Downloads

I often get emails from various people who would like me to post a link to something that they have online on our e-commerce website at We have a “links” section that we provide to help readers find resources to safety related topics, training material, downloads, documents, etc…

Most of the time I simply delete them because they are either not really relevant or there simply isn’t enough material there for me to feel that it is of value to our readers (or, as is also often the case, it has absolutely nothing to do with safety and they are just trying to get links to rank better in Google). This past week, however, I got an email from Matthew Pelletier who is director of marketing at Compliance and Safety mentioning the fact  that they have a section of their website where people can view and download free training PowerPoints. He thought it would be a good addition to our links section and, after checking it out, I agree.

They’ve done a great job and have collected 5 different PowerPoints for you.

Check them out for yourself at

Thanks Matthew!

Video Games may actually be good for kids

Well, there it is. First they tell us coffee isn’t good for us, then they tell us it is. First they tell us that chocolate isn’t good for us, then they tell us it is. Now they’re telling us that video games are actually good for our kids. What next?!?!

According to a new study released by the American Psychological Association video games, and here’s the kicker, especially violent 3D shooter type games, actually help children.

“Contrary to conventional beliefs that playing video games is intellectually lazy and sedating, it turns out that playing these games  promotes a wide range of cognitive skills. This is particularly true for shooter video games (often called “action” games by researchers), many of which are violent in nature (e.g., Halo 4, Grand Theft Auto IV).”

“spatial skills can be trained with video games in a relatively brief period, that these training benefits last over an ex-tended period of time, and crucially, that these skills trans-fer to other spatial tasks outside the video game context.”

The 13-page study is available online and recognizes other benefits, including cognitive, health and social skills. Video games like Angry Birds and other simple, quick play games also promote relaxation and relieve stress.

It is important to note that these advantages, however, need to be weighed against other negative effects that gaming may produce such as isolation and addiction. Children that also play a lot of video games tend not to get as much exercise as other children.

For now the answer to the question of whether or not you should let your kids play video games is probably the same as it’s always been. It depends on the child, on the age of the child and on whether or not video games is part of a balanced approach to other activities and social interaction. At least it can help you feel a little better about allowing your child to play video games but again, you need to be a responsible parent and monitor your child and see how the gaming is effecting him or her. You know your child best and should be aware of whether or not playing video games is having a negative effect that outweighs the positive it may or may not be producing.

What Causes Workplace Accidents?

That might, at first glance, sound like a silly or self-evident question… Accidents are caused by not doing something safely, right? But the issue is that in most cases, the people who have or cause accidents do, in fact, know better. They know that it isn’t safe to use a table saw without putting on safety glasses. They understand that they shouldn’t back up without looking, but somehow they do it anyway and that’s the question. Why?

There are several attitudes that contribute to accidents in the workplace (or elsewhere for that matter). They are:

  1. Fear – That might sound strange because we tend to think that fear would keep us from doing something dangerous. There are many forms of fear and the fear of looking like a wimp (most men have accidents because they don’t want to look “unmacho” or “unmanly”) keeps people from pointing out unsafe behavior or actions. Fear of looking stupid keeps us from asking questions and challenging procedures. Fear of reprisal keeps us from refusing to do jobs that might put our health at risk.
  2. Anger and irritation – Road rage is probably the best example of this attitude that puts us at risk. In the workplace, conflicts can cause employees to take unsafe actions as well. A man who has lost his temper is rarely one who stops to consider the safety of his actions.
  3. Fatigue and tiredness – Safe actions require us to stop and think before we act. When we are tired we simply don’t tend to do this as often if at all.
  4. Complacency and overconfidence – “We’ve never had a problem before!” is probably the statement that those of us who deal in safety hear most often when we challenge and point out an unsafe behavior. You might have done it unsafely 1,000 times and gotten away with it but that doesn’t mean that the odds won’t eventually catch up with you. If it isn’t safe, it isn’t safe, not matter how often you’ve done it.

Changes in behavior take place when the motivation for the behavior changes. Simply telling someone to wear safety glasses isn’t enough. Change the motivation and the behavior changes, it’s as easy as that.

Gunpowder Plant Sentenced for Blast that Killed Two

Craig Sanborn, the owner of the Black Mag gunpowder plant in Colebrook, NH was sentenced last week to 10 to 20 years in prison. It was determined by the jury after only 3 hours of deliberation, that Craig Sanborn was guilty of manslaughter for putting profits over safety when he failed to take safety measures or provide any safety training for his employees. The explosion that killed 2 employees, Donald Kendall (56) and Jesse Kennett (49) was deemed to be a result of Craig Sanborn’s negligence. The sentencing was 5 – 10 years for each of the employees that were killed which means that Craig will be going away for at least 10 years.

Worker safety can never be sacrificed for the benefit of production, and workers’ lives are not – and must never be – considered part of the cost of doing business. We categorically reject the false choice between profits and safety.” said the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.